It was great seeing all "the Unit" at church this morning! Some of us were a little ragged and still getting over jet lag and some tummy issues. But it was such a joy to be back worshiping with our family at Maryland.
My son asked me, "was culture shock harder going to Congo or coming back?" Good question! I told him they were both very uncomfortable and each was hard.
The sheer lack of normal comforts was everywhere in Bukavu. I missed my wife, my recliner, my shower, my bed, my TV, my good internet connection, my cell phone, electricity being on all the time, running water all the time, etc. The constant onslaught of poverty and the ravages of war were all around. One amazing cultural difference was the huge honor and respect the church of Congo gave us. We were treated like royalty and their humble respect was overwhelming.
Back here in the USA I was just overcome by all the things that were available to me that I had taken for granted. The sheer ability to be comfortable was just awesome. I don't think I ever want to take it for granted again. As I walked into MCC I was overwhelmed by the huge difference it was compared to the three churches we had worshiped at in Congo. Sometimes you just have to distance yourself from what you have to appreciate it and even understand it.
It was so hard after church to try and explain to a reporter about our trip. How do you put it into words. They seemed to fail us. But we tried. I found myself even disappointed in all the pictures that just didn't quite communicate what I saw and felt. In some ways I find myself thinking, wow, no wonder Jesus had such a hard time communicating the Kingdom of God! Talk about foreign concepts!
The little phrase we were taught by Ed Buell, was "TIA" or That Is Africa is really almost impossible to communicate to somone who hasn't been there and experienced it.
Hopefully over the next few months the six of us will do our best to communicate about our neighbors in Bukavu Congo. They taught us so much about faith, living for the day and hope. We learned what it meant do something in the name of Jesus and have it make a difference. Some lives were change, including ours.
I want to live more "in the moment" and not so much in the future. Easy to say, but I know how hard it will be. I think, "one day at a time" really hit me between the eyes in Congo.
Well so much for that rambling, forgive me, I am still kind of working it all through.